Who read comics, the far-out version

In 1970 Italian photographer Fausto Giaconni was in London and heard about the Isle of Whight festival. He went there and focused on the gathering, rather than the performance. His photographs went on to chronicle the great youth gathering of the end of the sixties.

In addition to chanting crowds, piles of trash and naked hippies, Giaconni also found makeshift news stands and book stores, selling every underground paper known to man, but also, strangely enough, Marvel comics, like Silver Surfer and The Incredible Hulk. Apparently, these were out there enough to be enjoyed by the beautiful people.

Photographs © Fausto Giaccone

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Stamps of interest 2022 – Belgium

In 2022 we celebrate the 100th birthday of Flemish cartoonist (and bonafide legend) Marc Sleen, as well as the 75th of his most famous creation, Nero. Two very good reasons for the Belgian Post Office to issue two stamps commemorating the event. On one of them we see Nero toasting his “spiritual father”, while the second one shows Sleen returning the courtesy. The stamps are presented in a sheetlet which also features the traditional waffle party that closes off every Nero adventure (and picking up a theme that was used previously for an issue in 2002) .

Illustrations for the stamp and the sheet were created by Dirk Stallaert,who for several years served as Sleen’s assistant.

In addition, the BPost collection for 2022 also includes interesting issues by cartoonist and illustrator Jan De Maesschalk, and by illustrator Sassafras De Bruyn. More information on these issues and release dates on the BPost web site.

Illustrations © bpost

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Look back to the labyrinth

Every year the Belgian town of Durbuy turns a corn field into a labyrinth that takes you on a journey past various short plays and sketches, games and puzzles. Each edition has its own theme, and in 2005 everything was about Tintin.

I remember a very entertaining afternoon with all the characters from Hergé’s books telling a story that was more or less based around Marlinspike or scenes from Temple of The Sun, the Secret of the Unicorn, Destination Moon, and others. Everyone was there, from Tintin and Haddock to the Thompsons to Bianca Castafiore, all excellently brought to life by a large number of amateur actors.

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Murder covers

In 2016 Dutch gothic Wunderkind Erik Kriek published In The Pines, a collection of short stories inspired by classic murder ballads, songs about murder, unrequited love and betrayal, all rendered with heavy swatches of black and only one extra colour.

Stories included Pretty Polly, Long Black Veil, Taneytown, Where the Wild Roses Grow, and Caleb Meyer. Together with the Dutch americana purists Blue Grass Boogiemen, Kriek also recorded his own versions of those songs, as well as In the Pines (something of a title track), and included them on a good old 78 CD..  But you can also listen to the mini album on Spotify. So, why don’t you?

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You are the part you play (also, Batman)

I’m not too proud to shamelessly steal stuff from Facebook or Reddit (or, as it turns out, Boing Boing), and when it’s a piece of meta ephemera, a right click is quickly made.

Here we have an actor who, apparently, identified with his most famous role to such an extend that he trolled people in real life. Adam West, who played Batman in the 60s series that redefined “zany” (he played a lot of other parts, but mainly Batman). Near the end of his life, he used to live in Sun Valley, Idaho, where he managed to repurpose the local phone book for his own amusement.

Also, this post features Batman, so it’s comics.

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Stanislas = Mr. Hergé

(edit – added two more book covers, thanks to Darko)

When there’s a subject that still grips a rather large market, but a certain party blocks any use of visual material of that subject, it pays off to have already made your mark. If that’s a little obtuse, and you’ll need to forgive me for mincing my words, consider the French cartoonist Stanislas.

Since he provided the art for José-Louis Bocquet and Jean-Luc Fromental’s visual biography of Tintin creator Hergé, published as Les Aventures d’Hergé (in a number of editions, with equally many cover illustrations), his extra naive take on the ligne claire has provided cover art for many a book on Tintin and his creator.

In 2014, Dominique Cerbelaud and Olivier Roche collected all publications on Hergé (more than 600) in Bibliographie d’un Mythe (Les Impressions Nouvelles). Renaud Nattiez wrote Le Mystère Tintin and Les Femmes dans le Monde de Tintin (both Sépia), while Patrick Mérand lists all details that the average reader will probably miss in Les Coulisses d’Hergé. Philippe Lombard tackles Hergé’s adventures on the silver screen in Tintin, Hergé et le Cinéma, and Bob Garcia looks into Hergé’s morals and belief systems in Tintin, le Diable et le Bon Dieu. Similarly, Marcel Wilmet studies the influence of Abbé Wallez on both Hergé and Belgian far right politician Léon Degrelle in L’Abbé Wallez, L’Eminence Noire de Degrelle et Hergé. The role of Jacques Van Melkebeke in the relationship between Hergé and E.P. Jacobs is the subject of Benoit Mouchart’s A l’Ombre de la Ligne Claire.

Most recently, Geoffrey Kursner presents an overview of all international newspaper runs Hergé’s comics have known in Hergé et la Presse.

And since Moulinsart guards all visual representation of the quiffed one like a set of hawks, all these authors called on Stanislas for a cover. Which, somehow, makes for some continuity.

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Crossing the streams, Tintin style

(edit – updated info on the two cameos in panel 1, thanks to Darko and Paul)

Thanks to the French comics news site ActuaBD, we now know that even American creators know their classics. In this short comic from Fantastic Four Giant Adventures #1 (2009), Paul Tobin and Dustin Weaver show how The Thing dreams in a clear line style (albeit with a less than clear line story).

Keen eyes will notice that Weaver also included Tintin creator Hergé in the first panel, but also his long time collaborators E.P. Jacobs and Jacques Martin. two other denizens of the comics pantheon : Jack Kirby and Tezuka Osamu. Now that’s crossing the streams. I also like which characters from the Marvel and the Tintin universe were mapped. Especially the Calculus-Richards mix is pretty neat.

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The Dostojewsky Roundabout

Late last year visual wizard Dave McKean posted this wonderful little circle comic on his Twitter. It originally ran in the New York Times, on the occasion of the great Russian’s 200th birthday.

Indicentally, McKean’s website is like a tumble back to the nineties, clickable maps and all. Charming!

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Walk a mile in Michel’s shoes

For the second year in a row French sneaker brand Caval is presenting an exclusive limited edition based on the long-running racing BD Michel Vaillant, coinciding with the release of the latest album in the series, Pikes Peak. This time, the design feature asymmetrical stripes in red and blue on a white base, mimicking the colours of the Vaillante logo (and the French drapeau).

More details refer to the comics : the embroidered Vaillante logo on the heel (the right one is opside down, elements from the comics on the insides and the portraits of the main characters on the insoles. A pair will set you back 170 Euros, but a little metal label with the name Vaillante adds that extra oomph for 10 Euros. Available for pre-order from Caval.

 

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January 10, 2016

For a precious few dates in my life, I can exactly pinpoint where I was at the time. I still remember sitting in an ill-lit room, doing integration tests before a big software release. We largely played music that day.

(from the quite glorious Bowie by Mike Allred and Steve Horton)

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